10 Things I Learned Against FSU

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Mike London’s defense hung tough for a half at FSU before the score got really lopsided.

The Virginia football team added another game to its losing streak in the state of Florida last weekend with a 33-0 loss at Florida State. The Seminoles jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and the final margin truly grew after halftime. Despite the disappointing defeat, the game is still worth a closer look. Here’s 10 Things I Learned Against Florida State.

1. Looking beyond the final score. When you lose 33-0, it is clear that the other team was better. Significantly so.

Having watched the game twice now, I was somewhat surprised by how UVa matched up with FSU on a man-to-man basis. Usually, when a team loses by a 33-0 score, you expect to see one team physically overwhelm the other. Frankly, I almost would have liked to see more of that this past week, as it would have made me feel a bit better about the final score. If you are completely physically outmatched, a 33-0 score is no surprise.

But in my view, that was not the case. In fact, I would argue that this loss was attributable to two primary factors. First, UVa did what a lot of young teams do – it gave away key points on dumb plays. Second, FSU’s team speed on defense was a shock for our young QB, and he made some predictable mistakes when faced with that speed for the first time.

Of course, that analysis ignores the 800-lb gorilla in the room – the fact that UVa has proven that under Al Groh, it can handle Duke on the road, but few other opponents.

2. The silver linings. If the loss to FSU was a dark cloud, does that mean there was a silver lining? Yes. In fact, more than one.

On defense, as I mentioned before the season began, I think our Achilles’ Heel remains the pass coverage of the safeties, and I think we saw that come into play this week (again). But the front seven actually played a bit better than I had expected, given the speed gap between the opposing units. And I was pleased to